It’s hard to believe it has happened, but Cloud from Final Fantasy VII has been announced for Smash earlier today. Had you told me this prior without hard detail like was shown earlier, I would have laughed, and not believed a bit of it. Sakurai has proven me wrong. Hundreds of fans online that clamored for a decade have proven me wrong. Fan fictions have proven me wrong. This is arguably one of the biggest turning points in Smash, and an announcement that not only rivals the reveal of Sonic in Brawl, but crushes it.
Why? Because literally anything is possible now.
Smash is a special franchise, one that is now designed to bring the true greats and giants together on the same battlefield. It takes much more than any average developer to make this sort of masterpiece happen. Here we are a year after release for Smash on Wii U, and we’re still being surprised even further than the announcement of the game.
What’s next? No one knows.
User BlazeMass on r/smashbros held a contest where he would buy the DLC for the person that closest predicted what was shown. Out of 1523 responses, not a single person had guessed that Cloud would be brought to the roster. I personally expected a reveal of Shovel Knight and Wolf. Generally 3rd party characters in Smash are restricted to those that have appeared on a Nintendo system. Snake was already a stretch with Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes on the GameCube (a remake of the first MGS game), but Cloud? Even further.
It’s no secret that Cloud is known from Final Fantasy VII, a game for the Playstation which has been re-released on PC, PS3, PS4, PSP, Vita, Android, and iOS. While Final Fantasy I – VI saw initial release on a Nintendo system, VII never touched a Nintendo system. That doesn’t mean though that Cloud never saw a Nintendo system…
To say that Cloud has been on a Nintendo system is a bit of a stretch. He’s been a playable avatar in the two Theatrhythm games on the 3DS, and then a supporting character in Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded on the DS. He wasn’t a major role in either game, and it was barely even the canonical Cloud in either title, moreso a cameo than anything else.
But what makes this even more interesting is the history of Final Fantasy VII and Nintendo. This was the first Final Fantasy game to be created in 3D after FF6 on the SNES. This game was originally in development and intended for the N64, but was eventually moved to the Playstation due to the lack of storage space on 64’s cartridges. The public was even shown a tech demo by SquareSoft with the protagonists of Final Fantasy VI in a 3D engine battle running on the N64.
Cloud marked a change in the Final Fantasy franchise, a change that involved shifting away from Nintendo. And yet, fast forward nearly 20 years later and the character is being immortalized further along Nintendo all-stars in the Smash series. In a fashion similar to Mario and Sonic at the Olympic games, it’s time to bury the hatchet and celebrate gaming together.
Who could be next? You tell me. I’ve learned my lesson, and any sort of prediction from here on out is nothing more than a guessing game for fun. Goku, Shrek, Agumon, Banjo, Frogger, Darth Vader – a case could be made for all of them… somehow. Realistically though, there’s no denying the impact that Cloud and Final Fantasy VII have had on gaming. It’s a treat to see him fight alongside greats like Mario, Sonic, and Pac-Man. That, and people are now saying that there’s no excuse that Geno can’t make it in too!